Turkish government arrests 14 lawyers on alleged terror charges

Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça

A total of 14 lawyers, who defending the jailed hunger striking educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, have been arrested on charges of alleged links to the Far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), Turkish media reported on Thursday.

According to the reports, 16 lawyers were detained as part of an investigation launched by the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office into the DHKP/C.

While 14 lawyers were arrested on charges of alleged membership in an armed terrorist organization and founding and leading an armed terrorist organization, two were released on judicial probation.

Lawyers Didem Ünsal, Aytaç Ünsal, Yağmur Ereren, Barkın Timtik, Ebru Timtik, Şükriye Erden, Engin Gökoğlu, Süleyman Gökten, Ozgur Yılmaz, Ayşegül Çağatay, Behiç Aşçı, Aycan Çiçek, Zehra Özdemir, Özgür Yılmaz were arrested; Ezgi Gökten and Ahmet Mandacı were released with judicial probation.

With this last wave of crackdown against lawyers, number of lawyers under criminal prosecution raised to 1343 and 538 lawyers have been arrested by Turkish government since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Barış Yarkadaş protested the arrest decision in a tweet: “14 lawyers were arrested. About 140 files were left behind. And around 100 people in jail are left without lawyers.”

The lawyers were detained just days before the trial of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça began.

Gülmen and Özakça, who were arrested in May on terror charges, have been on a hunger strike for 197 days to protest their dismissal by a statutory decree.

The Turkish government started a crackdown on the opposition in the wake of a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and arrested more than 50,000 and dismissed or suspended around 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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